Indian batter Shreyas Iyer credited South African batter Heinrich Klaasen for his match-winning innings in the second T20I in Cuttack on Sunday (June 12). He praised the batter for the manner in which he targeted the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners. According to the 27-year-old, Team India’s bowlers did not bowl badly but Klaasen was just too good on the day.
Coming into the team as the keeper-batter in place of the injured Quinton de Kock, Klaasen grabbed his opportunity with both hands, smashing 81 off 46 balls. The 30-year-old was the easy choice for 'Player of the Match' in the second T20I. South Africa chased down 149 comfortably to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.
Klaasen completely dominated the Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, during his career-best aggressive knock. Speaking at the post-match conference, Shreyas praised the South African batter for his match-winning knock and said:
“Klaasen targeted our spinners really well. He played shots off good lengths. The ball wasn’t turning and he was standing and delivering. The strokes he hit mostly landed over the ropes. He batted really well and credit to him. I don’t think our bowlers did much wrong. They bowled in the right areas and varied their pace as well. It was just that Klaasen’s execution was very good.”
Before Klaasen’s brilliance, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s magic with the ball gave India hopes of defending a below par total of 148. The seasoned pacer dismissed Reeza Hendricks (4), Dwaine Pretorius (4) and Rassie van der Dussen (1) in his first spell to leave the Proteas in trouble at 29/3.
Praising the senior Indian pacer, Shreyas said:
“He gave us a really good start, exactly the start we required. He is known for his swing bowling and the wicket really helped him. He knew the areas to bowl at. He executed his plans really well. He is someone who has got a lot of experience and is a great asset to the team.”
Bhuvneshwar returned in the 18th over to dismiss Wayne Parnell (1) and finish with exceptional figures of 4/13. However, by then, South Africa only needed a couple of runs to clinch victory.
“Can’t see anything which is going to stop us” - Shreyas Iyer on India needing to win three out of three
Having lost their first two games, Team India will need to claim victories in all three remaining T20Is to win the series. Although it’s a tough proposition, Shreyas asserted that the Men in Blue are up for the task. He concluded:
“It’s a great challenge. Lot of pressure on us. We have done it in the past and I can’t see anything which is going to stop us.”
The third T20I of the India-South Africa series will be played in Vizag on Tuesday, June 14.